Collen: 200 Years of Building and Civil Engineering in Ireland

A History of the Collen Family Business 1810-2010

By: John Walsh

Publication Date: October 2010


The family firm Collen, once regarded as a transitory phenomenon on the way to a more sophisticated model of business organization, is now recognized internationally as an enduring element in modern industrial capitalism.

Collen offers an informed and accessible discussion of a significant family-run institution which has operated throughout the island of Ireland since its foundation. The author makes use of untapped archival sources to analyse the fortunes of the company and illuminate the changing political, economic and social realities that shaped the context for its development. He explores how a family enterprise adapted to the far-reaching transformation of politics and society in Ireland over a period of two centuries. The Collen family business has survived economic depression, two World Wars, and the Troubles in Northern Ireland with a combination of resilience and business acumen.

This book presents a distinctive Irish perspective on the evolution and persistence of family business, while casting new light on the commercial development of Dublin during the last two hundred years. Collen will be of use to scholars of modern Irish history, economic development, architecture, civil engineering, business and public policy and will be invaluable for all those with a professional interest in Irish business and family enterprise.


John Walsh is an academic researcher with the Centre for Contemporary Irish History, Department of History, Trinity College, Dublin. His publications include Patrick Hillery: The Official Biography (New Island Press, 2008) and The Politics of Expansion: a study of educational policy in the Republic of Ireland 1957-72 (Manchester University Press, 2009). He lectures with the School of Education, Trinity College.



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Weight 1 kg
Dimensions 160 × 245 mm
Publication Date

October 2010


Hardback 224pp